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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 15th Mar 2011
When Biogen Idec considered a move to the cloud, cost savings was not the primary concern. For a biotechnology company that lives and dies by its research division, the ability to quickly spin up computer resources for its scientists was far more important.
 
A pioneer in treatments for multiple sclerosis, Biogen Idec needed to quickly assign computing resources to support its researchers. Yet, provisioning servers and applications to new projects requires a lot of planning, effort and support, says William Hayes, director of IT for the R&D section's decision support group.
 
"One of the things that was a challenge for us is to get servers deployed so we can use them," Hayes says. "It takes anywhere from weeks, for virtual servers, to months, for physical servers."
 
[For timely cloud computing news and expert analysis, see CIO.com's Cloud Computing Drilldown section. ]
 
The company's foray into cloud promises to change that, he says. Using an enterprise cloud gateway from CloudSwitch, the company can securely allocate new servers within a few minutes and at half the cost of using internal infrastructure, says Hayes.
 
1. First Wins Will Be Quick
 
In fact, the company has reduced the time to create a new server to less than ten minutes, he says. An IT manager can log into a Web site and create a Red Hat server or an Ubuntu server within a few minutes. Because the research groups have such disparate demands, the flexibility of quickly creating instances of different types of servers is a huge benefit, Hayes says.
 
"We tend to need a lot of throwaway servers of different sources, and in a lot of cases we need nonstandard servers," Hayes says.
 
The need for quickly-provisioned resources is common among companies that focus on R&D, says Ellen Rubin, founder and vice president of products at CloudSwitch, a startup that focuses on easing access to cloud resources, especially for companies with legacy apps.
 
"These companies often can't get the physical IT resources quickly enough," she says. "Cloud is an inherently attractive thing for these companies."
 
2. Paying for Cloud Can Be Tricky
 
One downside to many cloud services, such as Amazon's EC2, it their relatively inflexibility in terms of payment. It may seem odd, but many companies do not allow recurring payments through credit-card accounts.
 
Like many firms, Biogen Idec works on a purchase order basis; the IT department does not have a credit card that they can use to pay large recurring expenses. That created a problem when signing up for an account with Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud service.
 
"You have to be very creative in how you pay Amazon," Biogen Idec's Hayes says. "We have actually contracted with an outside firm to pay Amazon and then bill us."
 
The lesson for many IT managers is that, while cloud technology highlights advances in delivering affordable and flexible computing to companies, many companies internal processes are much slower to advance. Getting accounting departments to change their policies to handle computing resources as operational expenses, rather than capital expenditures, will take a while, he says.
 
3. Per-Server Cost Savings Add Up
 
While Biogen Idec was not searching for a way to reduce the cost of provisioning researchers with computing resources, the savings helped sell Hayes on the benefits of cloud computing. Moreover, when implementing well-tested services to production servers, the cost savings mattered more than agility, he says.
 
 
While Hayes would not discuss the costs of Amazon's service and the licensing costs of CloudSwitch, the cost for a fully-provisioned virtual server in the cloud was less than half that of a physical server over a period of three years. In addition, the ability to only pay for a server during work hours, as opposed to paying operational costs every day, reduces the expense even more, he says.
 
"I'm still astounded by how cheap this is," he says.
 
4. Protect Against Accidental Shutdown
 
Yet, companies that put critical data in the cloud should beware that they could be setting themselves up for a serious business disaster. While denial-of-service attacks--such the revenge attacks inspired by the controversy surrounding Wikileaks--are a major concern, simply failing to pay your bill could result in being disconnected from critical data, says Hayes.
 
"The cloud computing services, if you don't pay the bill, they will shut you down," Hayes says. "It is kind of hard to explain to your company that because finance could not pay the bill on time that you have a lot of interesting personal computers sitting on people's desktops."
 
The lesson for CIOs, Hayes says, is whether a company's infrastructure depends on cloud computing or co-location facilities, the firm that manages your information technology controls your servers.
 
5. Security Not All Good or Bad
 
One reason that Biogen Idec chose to use CloudSwitch to manage its cloud infrastructure is because the firm worried about putting its research data on servers rubbing shoulders with other servers in Amazon's cloud. CloudSwitch adds a middleware layer that encrypts all data that travels outside a company's network and gives managers a single view of their resources, both from internal networks and from the cloud.
 
While placing data outside the corporate firewall makes any IT security manger nervous, Hayes says that Biogen Idec's security group is "fairly comfortable" with the technology.
 
"You don't get a 'this is good' or 'this is bad,'" he says. "You get a degree of goodness and badness."
 
Robert Lemos
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 15th Mar 2011
Germany's federal finance ministry has pulled its website offline after receiving notification of a serious security problem from white hat hackers affiliated to the Chaos Computer Club (CCC).
 
Flaws on the the Federal Finance Agency website reportedly created a means to spy on customers of the government agency, steal login credentials or run phishing attacks. The bug reportedly existed for months before CCC stumbled upon the flaw. It is unclear whether or not the vulnerability was ever exploited or used as part of any scam.
 
The agency – Deutsche Finanzagentur – is involved in the placement of federal borrowing as well as the managing of federal debt. It also provides an entry point for internet banking services provided by bundeswertpapiere.de.
 
Flaws in the configuration of the web server used by the agency created a means to mount hard-to-detect phishing attacks, according to an advisory (in German) on the breach published by CCC over the weekend.
 
A notice on the Deutsche Finanzagentur said that the site was temporarily unavailable without providing any indication on when services might be restored.
 
John Leyden
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 14th Mar 2011
The PRIMERGY RX200 server gains pole position in VMware’s latest industry benchmark
 
We are pleased to announce that our PRIMERGY RX200 S6 rack server holds pole position in VMware’s new VMmark V2.0 industry benchmark, (which is now extended to measure servers on both performance and scalability for applications running in virtualized environments in a multi-host virtual environment).
 
 
The world-record holding RX300 S6 tops TCP-E price performance benchmarks as Fujitsu claims top 4 spots
 
PRIMERGY RX rack servers have retained all three top slots in TPC-E price-performance tests for more than two months, making Fujitsu the first vendor to sustain triple top results in two and a half years. The RX300 S6 which is currently ranked 1st, holds the TPC-E benchmark world record for best price/performance in online transactional database processing (OLTP).
 
  
To read the full press release please click here
 
 
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 10th Mar 2011
The ITPRO Recommended ETERNUS CS800 
 
The highly acclaimed ETERNUS CS800 is the leading solution for backup and archiving: it’s faster, more scalable and offers better price/performance than its key competitors. Here are 10 questions to help you identify an ETERNUS CS800 opportunity:
 
  • Are your backups taking an excessive amount of time?
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  • Do you have email performance problems? (This is often caused by poor email archiving, for which CS800 and software archiving is an excellent solution)
  • Do you regularly archive data? If so, how quickly and easily can you retrieve it?
  • Can you easily consolidate backups from different sites?
  • Does your backup automatically replicate data to your DR site?
  • Is your backup solution highly scalable to meet your growing data requirements?
  • Would you be interested in a backup and archive solution that typically pays for itself in 12-15 months?
 
So help yourself and your customers to get their backup and archiving running smoothly and reliably with the ETERNUS CS800
 
 
today!
 
Please click here to see our excellent video material on YouTube!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regards,
 
 
Your Fujitsu Team
 
 
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Contact
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 10th Mar 2011
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Posted by Graham Keen on Mon 7th Mar 2011
IBM has stolen the server crown back from rival Hewlett-Packard.
 
 
For the past five decades, Big Blue was the top systems seller based on revenues. But then along came the Great Recession, hitting at the same time as transitions in the Power Systems and System z product lines, allowing HP to reach down and steal the crown away. But now it's back.
 
So how long will IBM be able to hold it this time?
 
The box counters at Gartner reckon that server buyers bought 2.38 million servers in the fourth quarter, a 6.5 per cent boost in boxes compared to the number that went out the door in the final quarter of 2009. Because of a rebound in heavier server configurations – driven in part by fatter x64-based machines setup for server virtualization and surging mainframe sales in the wake of the launch of the System zEnterprise 196 machines last July and their shipment in late September – aggregate server revenues were up by 16.4 per cent, to $14.68bn.
 
For the full 2010 year, server makers pushed out 8.84 million machines, an increase of 16.8 per cent over 2009, but revenues hit only $48.8bn, rising only 13.2 per cent because of a mainframe slump in the first three quarters of 2010 and an ongoing slump in RISC/Itanium Unix system sales that started ahead of the Recession.
 
"2010 was a year that saw pent-up x86-based server demand produce some significant growth on a worldwide level," explained Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement accompanying the server market stats. "The introduction of new processors from Intel and AMD toward the end of 2009 helped fuel a pretty significant replacement cycle of servers that had been maintained in place during the economic downturn in 2009."
 
The growth in server spending was highest in North America, rising 24.5 per cent year-on-year, followed by the Asia/Pacific region, with 22.4 per cent growth. Latin America had 12.3 per cent growth in aggregate server spending compared to 2009, while Europe, the Middle East, and Africa had a less stunning 10.4 per cent growth rate. Japan, which has never successfully got out from under its own economic collapse in the early 1990s, actually saw a 4.4 per cent decline in server spending in 2010.
 
In the fourth quarter, IBM shipped only 332,254 boxes (up 3.8 per cent), according to Gartner, but the higher prices that Big Blue commands for its mainframes helped boost revenues to $5.21bn (up 26.4 per cent). I doubt IBM or anyone else thinks the mainframe boom can be sustained at this level, but it probably feels pretty good when it happens. HP was the top system shipper, with 767,026 boxes going out its factory doors (up 6.9 per cent and slightly above the market average), but because HP peddles less expensive x64 iron for the most part, the company's revenues only hit $4.46bn. That said, HP still grew sales by 12.8 per cent, which is not bad for a commodity server business.
 
However, Dell did much better on a pure commodity x64 server play, with shipments up 6.3 per cent, to 515,274 boxes, in Q4 2010 but with revenues growing right along with IBM's 26.4 per cent pace to hit $1.92bn. HP lost a point of revenue market share and Dell caught it, basically. IBM gained nearly three points of revenue share, and will likely gain share in the first quarter and maybe the second quarter of 2011 as well. But at some point, pent up demand for mainframes will run out and Big Blue will have to start doing deals, driving down revenues per machine.
 
Oracle continues to bleed like a stuck pig in the server biz. Gartner believes that Oracle's server business declined by 16.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, to $805.6m, when everyone else was doing swimmingly. Oracle's box count fell by 40.8 per cent, to a mere 36,614 machines. No matter how big the pipeline might be for Exadata, Exalogic, and SuperCluster appliances, this pipeline is not resulting in a rebound in Oracle's server business.
 
Oracle said it was going to walk away from unprofitable server deals, and presumably it is making money on the much-diminished Sun Fire and Sparc Enterprise M servers it does sell. The fourth calendar quarter of 2009 was the last one that Sun Microsystems did as a free-standing company, so it is not exactly a fair comparison. But the first quarter of 2011 sure will be, and Oracle had better show some growth this year or co-founder Larry Ellison will be taking questions about how Oracle has failed at the server business.
 
Oh, wait. I forgot. Oracle doesn't take questions. It just makes pronouncements. And money, of course.
 
Oracle's partner in the server racket, Fujitsu, rounded out the top five, with $560.4m in sales (down a half point) against 75,716 shipments (up 12.4 per cent and growing twice as fast as the market at large in terms of shipments).
 
Other vendors - including Cray, Silicon Graphics, Super Micro, and a host of whitebox vendors - managed to wrest $1.72bn in revenues away from the top five, almost matching the overall market with 15.8 per cent revenue growth. These other companies shipped an aggregate of 654,544 boxes, up 12.1 per cent from the year-ago period.
 
Gartner believes that a paltry 55,249 RISC/Itanium machines were sold in the fourth quarter of 2010, a decline of 10.7 per cent. But these machines generated $2.97bn in revenues, down nine-tenths of a point. The box counter believes that IBM's Power Systems running AIX had a 10 per cent revenue bump, hitting 1.33bn, compared to HP's Unix system sales of $829.2m (down 5.4 per cent), Oracle's $637.3m (down 15.5 per cent), and Fujitsu's $77.4m (up 20.3 per cent). French server maker Bull, which resells IBM Power Systems gear, had $67.7m in sales, down 11.9 per cent. Other Unix system makers accounted for $24.2m, double from a year ago.
 
X64-based iron continued to be the revenue and shipment driver in the server space, 2.32 million boxes generating $9.11bn in revenues. Shipments for x64 boxes rose by only 7.1 per cent in the quarter, but revenues rose by 20 per cent as companies fatten up their boxes for virtualization. HP maintained its top spot in the X64 space, with 754,503 boxes driving $3.43bn in sales.
 
Dell's business is all x64 iron, and its stats gave it a solid number two position here but it is still nowhere near to catching HP - even with all the units that its Data Center Solutions bespoke server division is kicking out for hyperscale data center customers. IBM's x64 server shipments stalled in Q4, but its memory-heavy System x and BladeCenter machines seemed to do well, helping push its x64 server revenues up 18.1 per cent to $1.69bn
 
Timothy Prickett Morgan
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Mon 7th Mar 2011
It is not an easy time to be a Unix server vendor, but at least it has stopped getting harder.
 
 
According to the latest statistics from the box counters at IDC, worldwide sales of Unix servers was flat as a pancake, growing four-tenths of a percent to hit $3.8bn in revenues. That drops Unix from about half of revenues a decade ago to about a quarter of the money pie here in the 2010s. Yes, a lot of servers ship with no operating system, and IDC does guesstimates to figure out what OSes are the primary ones on the boxes. So there is a bit of witchcraft in the numbers. But for Unix and mainframe machines, you kind of know what buyers are plunking on the boxes.
 
By contrast, IDC figures that sales of mainframes shot up by 69.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, to hit $1.7bn. That was the highest growth spike that IDC has ever recorded for a mainframes. Servers with Linux as their primary operating system saw a 29.3 per cent jump in revenues, hitting $2.5bn and representing more than 450,000 units shipped. Windows was the primary operating system on 1.5 million boxes, according to IDC, and these machines generated $6.3bn in revenues, up 16.8 percent compared to the year ago quarter. That shipment level for Windows boxes is the highest in the history of the platform, too.
 
(Note: IDC's server figures include the processors, chassis, memory, base disk, and I/O features as well as a core operating system, sold directly by vendors or indirectly through the channel, but with the dollars reckoned at the factory level. So this means you see the machines vendors sold into the channel during Q4, not necessarily the machines that the channel resellers sold to customers in that same period. Sometimes, customers are getting stuff passed through quickly, and sometimes they are buying older inventory.)
 
When you add it all up, the overall server market had revenue growth of 15.3 per cent, hitting $14.96bn, in the fourth quarter. Shipments rose by 6.1 per cent, to a total of 2.06 million boxes. For the full year, IDC says server revenues worldwide were up 11.4 per cent, to $48.1bn.
 
For some bizarre reason, Hewlett-Packard declared in its press release covering the IDC numbers that it was the leader in terms of worldwide server revenue and shipments for the year, but if you look at the data, IBM beat HP resoundingly in revenues in the four quarter, $5.59bn versus $4.47bn, and for the full year IBM's $15.3bn was actually $32m bigger than HP's $15.3bn. (The difference is rounded out at three significant digits, but server makers fight over those scraps of millions.) IBM grew server sales by 21.9 per cent in Q4, while HP grew at only 13.2 per cent and a bit slower than the market at large. For the year, IBM had only 8.5 per cent growth, however, while HP did 18.9 per cent.
 
Dell posted $1.89bn in server revenues in Q4, up 26.8 per cent, and crested just above $7bn for all of 2010, with an impressive 34.2 per cent spike. IDC still calls it Sun in its tables, but it is really Oracle, and Q4 was not a particularly good one for the software giant and server upstart. Oracle's server sales were off 14.4 per cent in Q4, to $883m, and for the full year sales were $3.28bn, down 14 per cent.
 
By the second quarter of 2011, the compares should get easier for Oracle but the real question is when the company will see server revenues actually go up. To its credit, Oracle seems to be turning a profit on the Sun business, something Sun itself had not been able to do reliably for the better part of a decade.
 
Fujitsu pushed $541m in iron in Q4, down 9.4 per cent, and had sales of $2.19bn for all of last year, flat compared to 2009. Other vendors made up $1.59bn in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 20.1 per cent and helped by improving sales at Silicon Graphics, Cray, Super Micro and a slew of whitebox vendors. For the full 2010 year, other server makers didn't do as well, only growing sales by a half-point to just under $5bn and about a tenth of the overall market.
 
The x64 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices drove the bulk of server sales in the final quarter of 2010, just as they have been doing for the better part of a decade. Vendors shipped 2 million boxes using Xeon or Opteron processors, an increase of 6.7 per cent year-on-year. Revenues for Xeon and Opteron boxes rose by 21.4 per cent in the quarter, hitting $9bn, helped by fatter two-socket boxes and a smattering of absolutely obese four-socket and eight-socket machines. For the year, x64-based server sales were up 28.7 per cent, to $30.6bn, with units up 16.6 per cent, hitting 7.4 million machines.
 
Jed Scaramella, research manager of IDC's enterprise platforms and data center trends group, told El Reg that Opteron-based machines accounted for about 7 per cent of shipments in Q4, down a smidgen year-on-year but up a bit sequentially. Intel, of course, had the other 93 per cent.
 
So what is 2011 going to look like? IDC is cautiously optimistic, as you might expect. "I think that the server refresh has worked through most of the pent-up demand left over from the economic downturn," says Scaramella. "But the market is still going to grow. I think we'll see another good quarter for non-x86 systems, but after a spike, they usually fall off to a long tail."
 
Timothy Prickett Morgan
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Mon 7th Mar 2011
Cisco is upping the unified communications stakes with the launch of Cisco Jabber, which will bring presence, instant messaging, voice and video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing to the device of your choice.
 
 
While Mac users will have to wait until the summer, Jabber is available today or in development for Windows, iPhone, iPad, Nokia, Android and BlackBerry platforms. The application also integrates with Cisco video endpoints including Unified IP Phones, WebEx MeetingCenter and TelePresence connections.
 
Prior to acquiring Jabber in late 2008, Cisco had been working with the real-time messaging company to integrate its Unified MeetingPlace conferencing product with Jabber Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber XCP). This week's announcement means users can collaborate from any workspace and any device, says Cisco. It's not just about the PC anymore, Cisco adds.
 
Based on the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for presence and IM, Jabber enables users to interact with others regardless of whether they're using applications from Google, IBM, Microsoft or AOL. In addition, the integration with Microsoft Office enables users to see a colleague's availability status and escalate communications to an instant message, phone call or conference from within the application, says Cisco.
 
In addition to the Jabber announcement, the company also unveiled two unified communications solutions for small and midsized businesses. The Cisco Unified Communications 300 Series for two to 24 users includes data and wireless support, along with features such as voicemail and automated attendant.
 
Its bigger brother, the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000, supports 300 users across 10 sites. The 320W is currently available, listing at $995, while the 3000 is scheduled to be available in the second quarter, at $12,400 for 100 users.
 
 
According to the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (Oct. 15, 2010), Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya (in that order) were the only three in the Leaders quadrant, down from six vendors last year. However, it cautions that despite the emergence of complete UC portfolios, these products are still in an early stage, and no vendor product adequately addresses all of an enterprise's UC needs.
 
While analyst Ted Schadler, Forrester, agrees that UC adoption is still a work in progress, he believes Cisco Jabber is a solid branding decision because it unifies Cisco's real-time collaboration assets under a single product line. "But it's also a nice extension to Cisco's unified communications [meaning voice and video conferencing] products. Finally, having a click-to-conference and a soft phone/video client will let Cisco compete directly with Microsoft Lync and IBM Sametime."
 
Steve Wexler
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 2nd Mar 2011
PRIMERGY servers excel in latest VMware and TCP-E benchmarks
 
 
The PRIMERGY RX200 server gains pole position in VMware’s latest industry benchmark
 
 
We are pleased to announce that our PRIMERGY RX200 S6 rack server holds pole position in VMware’s new VMmark V2.0 industry benchmark, (which is now extended to measure servers on both performance and scalability for applications running in virtualized environments in a multi-host virtual environment).
 
The world-record holding RX300 S6 tops TCP-E price performance benchmarks as Fujitsu claims top 4 spots
 
PRIMERGY RX rack servers have retained all three top slots in TPC-E price-performance tests for more than two months, making Fujitsu the first vendor to sustain triple top results in two and a half years. The RX300 S6 which is currently ranked 1st, holds the TPC-E benchmark world record for best price/performance in online transactional database processing (OLTP).
 
 
 
 
 
To read the full press release please click here
 
 
For a limited time only - Get 3 years 24x7 support free, when you buy selected PRIMERGY rack servers!  
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 2nd Mar 2011
The situation is simple: More video data requires bigger and faster networks, and as the leading network vendor, Cisco has a vested interest in facilitating this video growth. Over 50 percent of all Internet traffic today is video, and by 2014 the volume will be 90 percent, says the company. While the scope of video communications (including Internet video calling, video instant messaging, video monitoring and Webcam traffic) is currently relatively small, it is expected to experience substantial long-term growth in the 2014-2019 time-frame.
 
 
From a customer perspective, 36 percent of Cisco's largest customers are rolling out video "pervasively" in 2011, and 46 percent will do so within the next two years. TelePresence is now deployed at 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies and 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and purchase intention grew from 23 percent last April to 31 percent in October.
 
So Cisco continues to prime the video pump with more and more new products and capabilities. Its latest additions include TelePresence Content Server 5.0, the MXE (Media Experience Engine) 3500 network appliance, a 47-inch Cisco TelePresence endpoint for office or small conference room settings, a new user interface for Cisco TelePresence endpoints, and the first line of Cisco Unified IP Phones with built-in cameras.
 
The new features of TelePresence Content Server 5.0 include integration with Show and Share, high-quality video production, and new use cases for events, training, education and organizational communications. Show and Share has been integrated with CTCS for recording and streaming, and now offers single sign-on and increased scalability.
 
In November the company made a number of video-related announcements, including video-enabling all of its new enterprise collaboration endpoints, native interoperability among all voice and video-enabled offerings with Cisco Unified Communications Manager, two TelePresence endpoints, and the Cisco WebEx Meeting Center with high-quality video.
 
Ira Weinstein, senior analyst/partner, Wainhouse Research, says that Cisco has an obvious agenda here: "Video eats a lot of bits." But the company has also staked out a leadership position. "In terms of vendors, they have a big advantage. They've put it all under one umbrella and made it easy to create, distribute and manage."
 
 
As has been the case since the inception of videoconferencing, today's market is about the group, not the individual, says Weinstein, but the technology problems that used to characterize this market are now largely gone. "Today, you will get an amazing ROI in a short time. This is a pervasive tool that helps companies be more productive."
 
Steve Wexler, Network Computing
 
 
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